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Studying Non-Scenic Pips: The Fives and the Water Element

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 21 Jan 2004, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Diana  21 Jan 2004 
Introduction: Once we have studied 5s and Elements, 5s and Suits, 5s and Numerological Aspects, plus other aspects - such as Shapes which we haven’t started yet - we’ll then be able to join them altogether in a Grande Finale. I think it is wiser to study these separately first.

I’m kicking off here with the Fives and the Water Element. The threads related to this thread are: Elements and Fives. Please add to those threads when you have any new insights.

Usually the 5 and Water in Tarot is the 5 of Cups – but as we’ll be discussing the Five of Cups in a thread called, I suppose, “Fives and Suits: the 5 of Cups”, let’s try and stick to Water in this thread as much as possible.


What interests me when I look at a Number and an Element is: How does the number (in this case the 5) interact with the Element in which it finds itself? Does the Five feel comfortable with Water? or with Earth? Does it gain Strength from Air or Fire? Or is it weakened by them? Here is my brief take on the Five and Water (not to be taken as gospel truth – just my take):

Fives are constantly in movement. As I pointed out in the Number thread, they are never static, they shift vertically up and down, communicating between materiality and spirituality. Between the earth and the heavens. Between the feet and the head. It’s a number that can navigate easily. Emotions are usually kept more or less in check, because although this card is one of movement, it also provides a kind of a control due to its ability to navigate. (However, as everyone has free choice, one can still choose to stay stuck somewhere instead of using the potential offered to you – more on that later.)

Now the Water element is one which is very fluid itself, like the Five. Unlike the Earth element which is static, Water is constantly in movement (unless in stagnant water which is really yukky and is full of diseases and horrid bacteria). Water evaporates, condenses, and becomes water again. Water can also navigate between heaven and earth but when it does so, it always TRANSFORMS itself.

So I reckon that Fives love the Water element when the Water element is in movement, especially the transformation process from water to vapour to rain/ice/snow, because Fives love to progress, and to discover new horizons. (The Fives allow man to discover his soul.) However, when the Fives are in a River of water, or an Ocean, they tend to just get washed along with the current and lose some of their own energy and vitality.

Fives and Water (an emotional element, the one that reminds of our origin before we were born – when we were safe and warm in Mummy’s womb) can create the greatest artists, composers, actors, musicians. For they take their potential from the heavens, bring it down to earth in a practical manner, and then send it back to the heavens.

But Fives and Water (if the current is too strong) can also create the drifter, the procrastinator, the dreamer who is unable to find the energy needed to use his creative potential. And this can eventually lead to depression because the Fives are active, and if they remain passive, they are living in contradiction to their true nature. They will not be suicidal though – they are not likely to drown – but they can be rather miserable. It can lead to mood swings as well. The advice then would be to find a handy Earth element nearby and to use it to climb out of the river or ocean. (The cards surrounding the 5 of Water card in a reading should give indications as to what kind of Water the Five is swimming in.)

But Fives never feel really uncomfortable in Water - what I mean is, that they float beautifully (we will see that even more when we discuss the Shapes).

Fives in stagnant water are terrible situations. (The Five even starts noticing that, although he/she is still sort of comfortable in his misery - because some people love being miserable - something is not quite right. However the people who are living with the Five will have noticed the awfulness of the situation). A Tower experience is often needed to get them out of it. A bolt of lightning on water, as everyone knows, can create havoc.

As Water can also be drunk, it would be wise to use the 5 of Water card as excellent advice to drink the Water of Life that will aid you in finding your Mankindness. Depending on the person this could be reading, meditating, dancing, singing, hiking in the mountains, birdwatching, writing…….

There, I’m done for now. This is just a short post to get us started. 

Moongold  21 Jan 2004 
This is a very interesting discussion.

I like to look at the 5’s as on the cusp. They are half way between 1 and 10 after all. To me therefore they are more about decision making and ambivalence than action. They are the thing which precipitates the action. Be patient with me. I am learning all this and far from competent. 5’s lead to action or inaction eventually but they are poised on the brink of something. They are that quiet dramatic moment where everyone waits

In the Tree of Life, 5’s are located at Geborah where forms and structures are challenged and affirmed. What an appropriately cosmic brink of creativity! I have a sense of primordial water here also. So some very creative nexus or a very messy situation is possible. I have some impressions of swelling waters about to reveal all sorts of amazing or horrifying possibilities. Sort of like one of those awful Stephen Spielberg movies, but I shouldn’t trivialize.

Another more familiar metaphor comes to mind – that of water meeting earth, This is creative and fits the uncertainty and ambivalence of 5 exactly. Water and earth! Will the outcome be a swamp of a field of beautiful flowers? Or all sorts of things in between? It’s the brink, the cusp that I am interested in with 5’s. 5 can be the creative moment.

When you put 5’s and running water together you create another difficult situation. The running water can sweep the 5’s away and remove the capacity to choose. These running waters can be fate or the consequence of human decision making. Some of us understand that well. A door is opened and the person is swept away but his own decision and action has precipitated this. The 5’s - poised at the brink of decision making – will the outcome be a tragedy or a triumph?

Irene Gad notes that water contains all four elements. So is 5 therefore on the outer? 5 can be the maverick, the odd little thing that is “not normal”?

Pardon – I’ve just been extemporizing…..


~X~  21 Jan 2004 
I can see how 5 is not comfortable in water. Although there is some movement, it's not enough for five. Water moves, but it is heavy, 5 is quick and light. Any body of water will "go with the flow", in one direction. 5 may want to change direction in midstream, or may want to change speed. 5 needs more freedom than water can give. Freedom! Yep, it's here under 5. :)

I see now, thanks, Diana. 

Diana  21 Jan 2004 
Originally posted by Moongold
Irene Gad notes that water contains all four elements. So is 5 therefore on the outer? 5 can be the maverick, the odd little thing that is “not normal”?

Moongold: Thanks for reminding us that the 5 is between the 1 and the 10. Although, now that I have counted on my fingers (which is why I came back to edit this post), it isn't really. It's between 0 and 10, no?

I'm confused with Irene Gad's statement. How does water contain all four elements?

~X~: Yes, I think the Water element is a toughy for the 5. But if it can only remember that Water can be transformed.... and then the creative process that Moongold talks about can then take place.

However, I do see the 5 is something more active than Moongold. Because it's an odd number. All this needs pondering. 

The Studying Non-Scenic Pips: The Fives and the Water Element thread was originally posted on 21 Jan 2004 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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